Welcome to Google Update Wednesday, everyone, where you never know quite what you're going to get. The Wheel of Fate has given us a Chromecast update this week, and it's a doozy. A brand new user interface matches the rest of Google's various Material Design apps, more or less. But even more interesting is that the Chromecast app now allows screen casting (where your phone or tablet's screen output appears on your television) for all devices.
Well, sort of. You'll need Android 4.4.2 or better to accomplish this, and even then, Google is making sure you know that those phones and tablets not officially supported by the extremely slow screen casting rollout might not have the best experience.
Google added screen casting support to a select few devices earlier this year, but the wide rollout has been very, very slow. Today there are two new devices listed on Google's screen cast support page—The NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and the LG G Pad 8.3 GPE.
Listen up if you're one of the 6 persons who bought a overpriced TrekStor SurfTab xintron i 7.0 tablet for EUR129 from Amazon.deand gave it an average rating of 4 stars (Edit: the previous link, pricing, and reviews were for the 10" version). You're going to be super happy now, provided you also have a Chromecast or you got your hands on an Android TV box. You can now mirror your TrekStor SurfTab xintron i 7.0's screen to a TV through casting. If your 7" 1280x800 display isn't enough to view those beautiful 5MP images you captured or to enjoy the intense gaming experience of that kick-ass Intel® Atom™ Z3735G with 1GB of RAM, you're welcome to send them all to your TV. Yes, it's happening (.gif?) and it's everything your TrekStor SurfTab xintron i 7.0 was missing up until this moment.
Chromecast's screen casting feature works on a limited number of devices, but that list is gradually growing. For now, Sony appears to have cut to the front of the line of handsets waiting to get support. At the beginning of this month, the Chromecast gods smiled favorably upon the Xperia Z3 and the Z3 Compact.
Now at the end of the month, that attention is being poured upon the Xperia Z3v, Z2, and Z2 Tablet. The first is just Verizon's version of the Xperia Z3. The latter two are Sony's flagship phone and tablet from earlier this year.
When Google first pulled the lever on Chromecast's screen casting, the functionality was limited to a select number of devices. Well, it still is, but the list is slowly growing, and we've noticed that the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact have made their presence known towards the bottom. This puts them in the same exclusive club as a number of Nexus, Galaxy, One, and G devices (boy is it awkward to say these names without the manufacturer attached).
The Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact are the only two devices on the list that come to us from Sony. It looks unlikely that older devices will get support considering how before now the list remained unchanged since the feature's launch.
Yesterday Google flipped on the Chromecast screen mirroring feature that the company announced last month at Google I/O after teasing us for months. With it, users just tap a single icon to have everything on their screen magically projected onto a television. Forget waiting for individual apps to implement Chromecast support, this feature will let you mirror all the things, and it opens up a world of mobile games to a screen size many of them have never seen before. How well does it work? Phenomenally.
Before reading on too much further, you might want to save yourself some hurt feelings and check to see if your device is supported.
Earlier today Google flipped a switch enabling the screen casting feature it unveiled at Google I/O. If you have one of the supported devices, you don't have to do a thing to try it out. Just fire up Quick Settings and hit the screen cast icon. But if this isn't discoverable enough, Google has also updated the Chromecast app to bring more attention to the feature.
A Cast Screen option is now available in the navigation sidebar. Clicking it will provide a brief explanation of the feature and walk you through setting it up.
The app also displays which Chromecasts are available in your home to cast to and which device is currently casting to what.
Google showed off screen casting from Android at Google I/O, and we've been seeing hints of it in KitKat for months, and now it's suddenly real. Google has thrown the switch and enabled casting on a number of Android devices, and it works with sound too.